There's fantastic news this weekend for fans of film noir: This summer the TCM Vault Collection will be releasing Columbia Pictures Film Noir Classics, Vol. IV.
I've seen all but one of the five titles, and it's a terrific set, including one of my very favorite Dick Powell movies. Mark this set down as a "must buy."
The films, with my reviews linked at each title:
*SO DARK THE NIGHT (1946) - This film was shown at the Noir City Hollywood festival this year but I was unable to see it. Steven Geray stars as a Parisian detective; the movie was actually filmed in Canoga Park. It was directed by Joseph H. Lewis, the director of MY NAME IS JULIA ROSS (1945) and GUN CRAZY (1950).
*JOHNNY O'CLOCK (1947) - Dick Powell stars as Johnny, who runs a nightclub and is mixed up with a trio of women: hat check girl Harriet (Nina Foch); Harriet's sister Nancy (Evelyn Keyes); and the wife (Ellen Drew) of his partner (Thomas Gomez). The terrific cast also includes Lee J. Cobb and Jeff Chandler. It was written and directed by Robert Rossen and beautifully shot by Burnett Guffey.
*WALK A CROOKED MILE (1948) - This docunoir procedural stars Dennis O'Keefe as an L.A. FBI agent and Louis Hayward as a Scotland Yard agent who team up to break an international case regarding stolen top secret nuclear information. Raymond Burr costars. Directed by Gordon Douglas.
*BETWEEN MIDNIGHT AND DAWN (1950) - A "docu-cop" title with Edmond O'Brien and Mark Stevens as police officer partners who are both in love with dispatcher Gale Storm. This film with procedural elements seems likely to have influenced later Jack Webb shows such as ADAM-12. Like WALK A CROOKED MILE, it was directed by Gordon Douglas.
*WALK EAST ON BEACON! (1952) - George Murphy in his last feature film, starring as an FBI man investigating a Soviet espionage ring. Finlay Currie and Virginia Gilmore costar, directed by Alfred L. Werker.
All five films have been restored and remastered. Director Martin Scorsese provides an introduction.
The set will be released August 5, 2013.
Update: The release date has been pushed back to September 16, 2013.